2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


When Social Media Goes Rogue

We were asked to pick a recent social media crisis and comment on how we’d react differently if we were in charge. In researching cases in the last year, I was pleasantly surprised to see that most organizations dealt quite well with their social media disasters. Shining examples can be found here: http://www.radian6.com/blog/2012/09/shining-examples-of-excellent-social-media-crisis-management/  In fact, I would be hard pressed to find a recent situation that I would define as a ‘crisis’ (a situation that threatens the operations of a business). Companies are maturing in their social media crisis planning and management. As they should be. There’s a wealth of articles, readily available, offering advice on how to manage your next social media mistake before it escalates into a disaster or crisis.

Here’s a neat example:

That being said, Mashable posted its compendium of the eleven worst social media ‘disasters’ of 2012:


Four of these feature companies insensitively or unintentionally ‘newsjacking’ trending tragedies. American Apparel and the Gap intentionally tried to capitalize on trending Hurricane Sandy with major backlashes. Hurricane Sandy claimed 253 lives, caused an estimated $65 billion in damage and resulted in millions without power for days after the storm hit. However, both companies quickly apologized and the Gap donated $1 million to The Red Cross.

The tweet that irked me the most was by American Rifleman. The official journal of the National Rifle Association posted a pre-scheduled pro-gun tweet in the wake of the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado during a midnight screening of “Dark Knight Rises.”

Not surprisingly, the tweet sparked considerable outrage. Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann pointed their followers to it. The tweet was deleted several hours later but the organization did not issue a formal apology.

American Rifleman should have taken a page out of Celeb Boutique’s response to its own blooper. The company posted:

After only an hour, the tweet was deleted and the company apologized. Several moments later, the company admitted its mistake was not checking what the trend was about.

In both cases, the companies should have and could have easily checked what was trending. In American Rifleman’s situation, it’s social media lead should have been listening to trends and news topics before allowing an automatic tweet to go out.

Following the Need for Speed guidelines in the infographic above, American Rifleman should have acknowledged its mistake. It should have also apologized immediately for its tweet and issued some sort of sympathetic note in respect of the victims of Aurora. In terms of an action, ideally, I’d have liked to see a donation towards the health care costs of the victims and community. However, given the NRA is a strong right-wing organization with outdated ideas, I won’t hold my breath expecting it to understand how to respond effectively to fast-moving situations that arise on social media!

Measurement Tools: Social Media’s Compass

So, you’ve just set up your company’s social media presence and are having a blast creating content for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Your friends think you’ve landed a dream job because you get to spend your days on social sites. However, your manager pokes his head into your office and says he need to brief the CEO on the ROI of employing a community manager. You Google ‘ROI’ and ‘Social Media’ and start hyperventilating.

Social media is here to stay and organizations are rapidly recognizing its benefits. However, strategically tracking and measuring social media activity is now a growing priority for organizations.

Luckily, there are plenty of free tools available to help community managers measure their activities. This week, I’ll review three free tools and one paid service:

Google Analytics Social Reports

Using an overview of your social networks, this tool allows you to visualize your social traffic so you can measure how social traffic is impacting business goals and conversions.

Features and Benefits:

Conversions report

Measure conversion rates and the monetary value of conversions that occurred from visits from social networks. The visits are linked to goals and Ecommerce transactions. A great way to report on ROI!

Evaluate Social Sources

See which social networks and sites refer the highest quality traffic so you can refine social campaigns. Google Analytics looks at the referring URL of the visit. If the URL matches one of the domains they’ve assigned to a social media network, it pops up in your social reports under the corresponding social network.

Evaluate Content

Monitor content that’s most commonly shared, and to which social networks they’re being shared (for example, Google+ or Facebook). This lets you create more of the type of content that’s popular with your visitors, and remove features that aren’t being used.

Social Mention

A social media search and analysis platform, it aggregates user generated content (Twitter, bloggs, videos, comments, etc.) so you can track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, or a topic across the social media landscape.

Features and Benefits:

This tool makes it easy to monitor, not only what’s being said, but also who is saying and what the general sentiment is towards the company or brand so you can react in real-time. An invaluable listening and monitoring tool, especially for new community managers trying to get a handle of conversations already taking place before jumping in.

Social Bro

A very useful tool to identify and target influencers in your community.

Features and benefits

  • Where your followers are from, which language they speak, their activity on Twitter, etc.
  • Which users you follow who have a low follow ratio
  • Inactive followers
  • Best time to tweet report, based on when most of your followers are online, so you can can see when you’ll get more retweets and replies.

Finally, for those who’ve convinced their organizations about social media’s ROI and are in a position to ask for funding, you may be interested in Lithium.

Lithium is a paid social media monitoring tool that aggregates and analyzes content from Twitter, blogs, photo- and video-sharing sites, forums, and comments. Lithium also enables you to identify your key influencers and affect what is being said, retweeted and reposted on social media networks.

Features and Benefits

  • Searches: Get real-time access to content on social media sites to respond in a timely manner.
  • Sentiment tracking: It gives you a real-time look at the tone and sentiment of your social mentions.
  • Buzz tracking: Evaluates your social media success or failure. It also offers comparisons with competitors and your industry.
  • Quotes: Monitor what your customers are saying about your brand. You can directly see their praise, complaints, and issues with your company or products so you can be responsive.

At the end of the day, one monitoring and measuring tool is unlikely to fulfill all your metric needs. Once you’ve asked your manager to define how your activities are expected to help your organization’s objectives, you can then work backwards to see what tool will best help you measure your activities.

War Child Canada’s new campaign: Where childhood thrives, war does not

Hi Everyone,

As most of you know, Boyd invited our class to volunteer to help War Child with it’s new campaign. Emily Du and I were excited at the opportunity to apply what we learn in class to a real-world social media campaign—and for a good cause. I want to use this post to highlight the edgy new video that is at the heart of War Child’s new campaign.

War Child is a Canadian organization that works with war-torn communities to help ensure that children have access to education, opportunity, and justice. Their new campaign focuses on the importance of protecting childhood. Childhood is a pivotal time in our lives. But in communities affected by war, the pillars of a stable childhood – education, opportunity and justice – often get knocked away.

To promote this important message for War Child, john st. created an online film to show  just how powerful childhood can be.

You can view the videos here:

Thanks for reading! Please share the video if it resonates with you.

The Anatomy of a Community Manager

Fire Your Marketing Manager and Hire A Community Manager. That’s the title of a July 28, 2010 HBR blog post! As early as two years ago, the smarty-pants at Harvard Business Review recognized the importance of social engagement and the role of a community manager. Since then, the number of positions has sky rocketed:

Here’s a breakdown of the now booming profession:

This week, we were treated to an excellent presentation of just how complex the role of a social media community manager can be. Mary Pretotto, Community Manager on the Social Media team at Rogers and Fido, shared some insightful tips and case studies on how Rogers, one of Canada’s largest communications companies, has come to successfully manage it’s online community. Mary can be found @RogersMary or on her personal account @marypretotto. As a few of us (myself included) were distracted by the Twitterverse exploding over the Dalton McGuinty resignation announcement, Boyd refused to post Mary’s presentation online this week. So, we will have to rely on a few infographics to discuss the role of the community manager.

For starters, this infographic neatly demonstrates the complexities of the role:

Next up, here’s a road map on the Dos and Don’ts of good community management:

Finally, if you needed any further proof that community managers are here to stay, the fourth Monday of every January is now recognized as Community Manager Appreciation Day.

Pinterest and Instagram: They’re Going to Need their own Sections in your Social Media Plan

On September 13, 2012, a study by Pew Internet reported an explosion of growth of image-sharing platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram. It’s no surprise then, that Pinterest won this year’s ‘Webby Best Social Media’ award and Instagram the ‘Webby Breakout of the Year’ (validating, to some extent, Facebook’s $1 billion bet on the platform in April).

In August, the Los Angeles Times reported visits to Pinterest’s website from North American users hit nearly 29 million in July, up from 1.27 million a year earlier, an increase of 2,183%. The same article reported Instagram also saw a massive growth in traffic during the same time rising from 56,360 to more than 12 million.

Pinterest isn’t simply the latest procrastinating tool for worker bees. Consider this infographic on the social media’s purchasing force.

If companies weren’t paying attention to these two platforms before, they need to start leveraging these visually captivating sites stat!

This is a great article by Lauren Drelll on 5 hot tips on Pinterest for Brands

For a fun video on Instagram best practices, check out:

some creative ways to use Instagram to support your brand:

1. Show your products

2. Show how they’re made

3. Go behind the scenes

4. Show what your products can do

5. Introduce your employees

A picture is worth a thousand words. This post neatly captures why images get a faster ‘a-ha’ response than text. Facebook and Twitter began as predominately text-based platforms that served brand communicators well. However, given the explosion in interest for Pinterest and Twitter, brand managers and communicators need to spend time working these two tools into their integrated social media plans.

The Secret Sauce of Content Strategy—in Images

Last week, Zack Sandor-Kerr, digital strategist at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, taught us some neat tricks to leverage Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as public relations assets. Just in case the class got too enthralled by the shiny new features, this week’s assignment reminded us that all social media tools are just that: tools to be implemented within the context of a good content strategy.


This week, we were asked to find and evaluate three images or diagrams that summarize the key elements of a content strategy.


According to our assigned readings by Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach, content strategy guides your plans for the creation, delivery, and governance of content (Content Strategy for the Web, page 28). In their book, they present a neat diagram illustrating the elements of content strategy:


  • Core content strategy defines how an organization will use content to achieve its objectives and meet user needs
  • Substance includes the kinds of content (topics, types, sources,etc) needed to communicate to the  audience
  •  Structure defines how content is prioritized, organized, formatted, and displayed
  •  Workflow outlines processes, tools, and human resources required for content initiatives to launch successfully and maintain ongoing quality
  • Governance explains how key decisions about content and content strategy are made

With those elements in mind, here are the top contenders for most effective content strategy images delivered by Google Image search results:

3. This simple diagram by Michael McWatters gets to the core of good substance: the intersection of organizational goals with what interests your audience. This may seem overly simplistic, but it gets to the heart of what defines good content substance: what messages does content need to communicate to an audience (Halvorson & Rach, page 30).


Of course, this diagram doesn’t address structure, governance or workflow. So, the search continued.

2. The most creative diagram I came across has to be ‘The Content Strategy Burger’ created by Mark Smicklas.


This diagram is smart, creative, and drives home the point that content needs to be audience-focused. However, as a stand-alone image, it neglects to factor in organizational goals that should dictate strategy. Yes, audience-focused content is key, but if your strategy doesn’t serve your organizational goals, you may leave your CEO scratching her head in confusion.

1. What I like about this diagram, found by Sarah Atkinson, is that it teases apart the many considerations that should inform a good content strategy.


Visually it’s simple, a tad surgical, but manages to tell a story using varying sizes of the circles to create an outward flow arc.
Honorable mention goes to this diagram that clearly lacks a visual punch, but conveys the point that good content strategy should be contemporaneous and iterative.